Independent election commission: a specialized gender strategy to ensure women´s participation in all stages of the electoral process.Jul 7, 2015
After a series of meetings convened by the Independent Commission for Elections with its partners in the electoral process, a meeting with representatives for Jordanian women movements was held on 7 July. The meeting was a part of a quest to consult with women´s movements on a strategy to integrate gender in the work of the Commission, ensuring women´s participation in all stages of the electoral process.
The head of the Independent Commission for elections, Riad Shaka, underlined the importance of openness in order to ensure the development of political life in Jordan, and especially the electoral process. He further emphasized the importance of women in a sound democratic society devoted to the homeland.
"This meeting is part of a framework which wishes to consult with women´s movements before adopting a specialized sub-strategy, aimed at increasing the participation of women, both quantitatively and qualitatively, in the work of the Commission and in the elections in general. This includes ensuring their participation in all stages of the electoral process, without societal pressures on their decisions. We therefore hope that these efforts will increase the number of women holding posts in the electoral process management, implementation and oversight, including an increase in the number of women participating in polling and counting stations and volunteer work, ensuring equality and equal opportunities for stakeholders in the electoral process." Shakaa said
This meeting is the first of an ongoing cooperation, as the Commission develops visions, objectives and action plans within a specific timetable for the specialized gender sub-strategy on electoral processes. The Commission sees this cooperation as one of its priorities, and underlines its commitment to achieving the best electoral practices and management, responding to the needs of voters - both men and women, following international standards.
In her speech, Ms. Zena Ali Ahmad, UNDP Country Director, underlined the importance of women´s participation in the electoral process. Providing effective protection of women's rights in this area is one of the main criteria to ensure a comprehensive electoral process and a high degree of credibility.
She further commented on the achievements of the Independent Commission for elections, which include important progress in strengthening the electoral process in Jordan and in adopting frameworks and procedures that will enhance and stimulate women´s participation in this important process, both in the parliamentary, municipal and other elections.
The Secretary General of the Independent Commission for elections, Dr. Ali Aldarabka, gave a presentation on the Commission in terms of its establishment and principles and legislation governing its work, as well as its organizational and administrative structure, challenges and achievements.
He underlined that amongst the most important tasks for the future work of the Commission, is a continuation of the legislative work in order to reform the electoral process and to develop a strategic plan and an effective communication strategy aiming at communicating with all partners and the target groups.
Vice President of the Commission, Ms. Asma Khader, underlined the role of Jordanian women in the elections, emphasizing the need for the Commission to develop a strategy aimed at increasing the participation of women in the various stages of the electoral cycle, from candidates to voters to volunteers, and to generally ensure non-discrimination on the basis of gender.
Khader also addressed the importance of women´s participation in the management and implementation of the electoral process, noticing at the same time the need to increase women´s representation, and the reasons for the weakness of the proportion of voters in the general election.
At the end of the meeting supported by UNDP, a debate followed, and the audience listened to remarks made by representatives of women´s bodies that will serve the electoral process.
The aim is to strengthen and institutionalize the relationship between the Independent Commission and the women´s movements, and to indicate the fundamental trends and strategic objectives to increase women´s participation in the various stages of the electoral process, as well as overcoming the obstacles that prevent women from exercising their political responsibility as citizens.